Commerce, Racism & Education

A private company working with the Border Agency to oppress its workers at a supposedly enlightened university, who’d a thunk…Via Socialist Unity 

Please Join This Group – Stop the Deportation of SOAS University Cleaners!

www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=89511288639

 This group has been set up in Solidarity with the 9 members of the cleaning staff at SOAS who, following a morning raid by border police, have been detained and threatened with immediate deportation from the U.K. We demand an immediate end to these deportations. Below is a summary of the events. Please sign up and show your support!

 Summary of the Border Agency raid at SOAS campus on 12/06/2009

 • All SOAS cleaning staff were called into a meeting by ISS (the company who contracts SOAS’ cleaning staff) at 7am, in a ground floor room and were given no warning about the raid.

 • 45-50 Immigration police entered through the fire doors and the main entrance to the room and surrounded the cleaning staff; the police officers were in riot gear.

 • They cleaners were locked in the room and then led one by one into another room, where their immigration status was checked during which they had no representation or even a translator (many staff are native Spanish speakers). A lot of the cleaners were in emotional distress. A trade union representative was refused access to the staff.

 

• The raid was instigated by the cleaning contractor ISS who requested the police action. Two members of SOAS Management were present during the raid liasing with the police, suggesting that they had prior knowledge of the raid.

 • 9 Cleaners, five of whom are UNISON members were taken into detention. One detained cleaner was six months pregnent, she is thought to have collapsed during the events.

 • Legal representation is being sought through UNISON and other parties, the authorities have not yet revealed where they have been taken, and the detained have no way to contact us.

 • ISS have informed UNISON that some cleaners detained may be fast-tracked out of the country, thus they may be deported within 72 hours.

 • Those detained have been working at SOAS for many years; they have settled in London and have families here. Deportation will be devastating not only for the individuals involved but also the families, who could be split up. They are also our friends and fellow colleagues.

 • The heavy-handed treatment which the cleaners received was grossly over the top and ISS/SOAS are complicit in this.

 • ISS knew that there was documentation problems with their employees yet have not acted to resolve this beforehand. It’s not a coincidence that the cleaners in question were among the first to fight for Union representation and a decent wage.

 • The actions today send a clear message to other agency workers in London not to fight for union representation, such levels of intimidation cannot be tolerated.

 • Boris Johnson has recently called for an amnesty for illegal workers in London, because he recognizes the vital work they do.

 • The raid is proof once again that SOAS cleaning staff need to be brought in-house and that companies like ISS which exploit and intimidate workers have no place at SOAS.

 • We are demanding an immediate end to the deportations!

 • We are demanding that cleaners be brought in-house where they will not be exposed to this level of harassment.

A protest is scheduled for tomorrow-

Monday 15th June at 8.30am on SOAS Steps. Please bring Union banners and other visual, audio aids.

4 Responses to “Commerce, Racism & Education”

  1. Dave (The Void) Says:

    Thanks Rick! There’s a petition here which people can print off and take around their workplaces, union branches etc http://freesoascleaners.blogspot.com/2009/06/stop-racist-deportations.html

  2. Dave (The Void) Says:

    Supporters have occupied the SOAS director’s office! Send messages of support to: freesoascleaners@gmail.com

    (SOAS statement on the raid: http://www.solomonsmindfield.net/2009/06/official-school-statement-disgusting.html)

  3. harpymarx Says:

    Oh, great news!!

    I couldn’t get to the protest this morning. I will advertise this to my own union branch, needs as much publicity as possible…

  4. harpymarx Says:

    Oh, forgot to say have advertised it on my own blog….


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